Valentino making waves

Valentino:  CURRENT SEMI/QUARTER-FINALIST IN STORYPRO 2015 SCREENWRITING COMPETITION – FAMILY CATEGORY – top 15 as of today. Two worlds collide when a Native boy and a blind girl are thrust into extreme circumstances after being shipwrecked on opposite sides of a desolate island in the middle of winter. While Maddie McNabb must rely on providence, her guide dog and an abandoned horse to help her survive, August Pete has a wealth of cultural heritage and survival skills to draw from.

Determination, perseverance, hope and friendship are the cornerstones of this story.

Review Two Independents

eview by Laura Neufeld, The Canadian Horse Journals

Two Independents, the fourth installment in Canadian author, Laura Hesse’s popular Holiday Series, is an exciting, heartwarming tale set in British Columbia’s interior.

The novel introduces June, the matriarch of the Stetler family. She is a kind, insightful woman, and though suffering from debilitating arthritis, possesses a physical and emotional strength which gives the novel its heart.

June lives with her husband, Bill, their dog named Horse, and an old Norwegian Fjord, CD. She travels up to their cabin in the mountains each summer, and this year she will be accompanied by her grandchildren: Billy, a horse-crazy eight-year-old who longs to be a “real” cowboy, and Susie, a surly fifteen-year-old from California who would much rather be spending her summer on a surf board than one horseback. The story follows the family as they head up the mountain and settle in for a quiet vacation. The summer, however, brings much more than they expected.

Two Independents has all the makings of a great story – for you and old alike. Hesse has created nuanced characters who come alive on the page, and tells a story filled with twist and turns. There is even a bit of a romance thrown into the mix.

Hesse owns a Norwegian Fjord and her love for the breed is obvious: CD and his new companion Independence are as strongly developed as the human characters. Hesse also puts her years of experience with the Alberta Forest Service to good use, depicting the dangerous conditions which arise when the summer is too hot and dry. Her detailed observations place the reader right in the thick of things.

Two Independents is a great choice for the horse lover looking to add a little excitement to their reading list.

One Frosty Christmas – the beginning

The number one question that I get asked at book signing events or author readings is: where do you get your ideas? So here’s how “One Frosty Christmas” began.73 dpi frosty

The old mustang in the story, Frosty, is based on an actual pony called “Frosted Tip”.  This little fellow was delivered to Thunderbird in Vancouver several years ago en route from Wyoming to northern BC. A friend of mine was working at the horse show when the scruffy white pony with frostbitten ears was dropped off. The horse transporter asked if she would mind looking after the pony until he was picked up by his new owner? She was delighted. “Frosty”, as my friend aptly named him, was the cutest, if not homeliest, pony she had ever seen. She hoped to meet his new owner, but her responsibilities kept her as busy in the show ring as they did in the barn, and he was gone before dinner the next day.

I was so taken with the story of Frosted Tip…How did he lose the tips of his ears? What adventures had he lived through? Why buy a frostbitten pony in Wyoming and ship him to northern BC? What made this pony so special?…that I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. It must have been frightening for the pony to travel all that distance in the care of total strangers. Before I knew it, my imagination took hold and the concept behind “One Frosty Christmas” was born.

The human characters were a little harder to bring to life. The character of Hannah Storey developed out of time spent working as a volunteer with a couple of therapeutic riding associations and by growing up around numerous WWII vets including my Uncle Mac, who was an amputee. Johnny Joe is a composite of several people – my father, a gentle and peaceful man with a great sense of humour and determination, a native boy from Port Alberni who quietly offered to “sing” for my father’s spirit along with his grandmother and aunt’s on their passing, and Walter, one of the camp cooks I worked with while stationed at Fort McKay, Alberta.

To write, one must ask questions. The first step begins with a thought or an event, like a frostbitten old mustang traveling from Wyoming to northern BC, and the rest is up to the writer.